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Street Talk Cautious Times

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The Ravens rookies, quarterbacks, and injured players are allowed to convene at the Under Armour Performance Center this week. 

Nonetheless, there are still many questions surrounding training camp and the regular season amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

In short, we’re not out of the woods just yet.

Several Ravens players, such as Brandon Williams, Tavon Young, Justin Tucker, and Robert Griffin III, joined a league-wide social media movement hashtagged #WeWantToPlay to voice about the league’s protocols with the coronavirus. The players want to ensure plans are in place to ensure their safety.

[Related: NFL Players Blitz Social Media with #WeWantToPlay]

“We need answers and we need them now,” Tucker wrote on social media. “We need to know that the  @NFL  is doing everything in its power to ensure the health and safety of the players. Simply put, the  @NFL must heed the advice of its own medical experts if we are to play a full season.”

The players want daily testing for the coronavirus because cases continue to spike in several U.S. states. The NFLPA also wants more time to get acclimated to getting back on the practice field because the players did not have the luxury of offseason workouts. They want to follow the guidance of medical experts who advised more strength and conditioning sessions before coaches begin formal drills.

This type of plan could be especially critical for a player like Young, who suffered a season-ending neck injury prior to last season. Other notable Ravens coming off significant injuries are center Matt Skura, linebacker Pernell McPhee, and safety DeShon Elliott

“We need the NFL to make sure we are safe and the people around us are safe,” Young wrote on Twitter. “Missed last year because of injury and don’t want another missed season because of safety issues.” 

There’s an issue with the preseason games, which have already been initially cut to two games. The league is prepared to cancel all of the exhibition games to ensure player safety, which should help the regular season proceed as planned. 

The players are not the only ones dramatically impacted by the changes this season.

The owners could lose millions of dollars without fans in the stadiums. The coaches have to balance the new protocols with ensuring their players are fully ready for the regular season. And fans have to adjust to a new way of following the game. 

[Related: M&T Caps Capacity at 14,00 Fans…For Now]

Ravens coach John Harbaugh has already voiced his concerns about the challenge of running a practice while adhering to social distancing guidelines. He has since expressed a bit more confidence in the process. 

“I think we will have protocols in place, and the testing is the main thing – that seems to be the biggest piece and the most important piece right now to making sure that we don’t have a spread in the building, those kinds of things. But we’ll trust the higher powers on that one,” Harbaugh said.  

The players also plan to take a stand for social justice. They have urged fans to support the initiative and avoid the type of backlash they endured when players first took a knee during the national anthem. 

“We can no longer say we care about the equal treatment of all people no matter the race but turn a blind eye to the injustices happening right in front of our faces,” Griffin said on social media. “Why do you stand up for us during game day but not when we are mistreated in society? Why do you support us when we wear a jersey but not when our communities are brutalized?”

One way or another, the 2020 NFL will never be forgotten. 

But it at least appears to be on the way. 

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Todd Karpovich

About Todd Karpovich

Todd Karpovich has been a contributor for ESPN, the Associated Press, SportsXchange, the Baltimore Sun, among other media outlets nationwide. He is the co-author of “If These Walls Could Talk: Stories from the Baltimore Ravens Sideline, Locker Room, and Press Box,” “Skipper Supreme: Buck Showalter and the Baltimore Orioles,” and the author of “Manchester United (Europe's Best Soccer Clubs).” Karpovich lives in Towson with his wife, Jill, daughters, Wyeth and Marta, and a pair of dogs, Sarah and Rory. More from Todd Karpovich
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